Monday, October 31, 2005

Old Age Approacheth

This weekend we switched our clocks back. I generally don't like this, if for no other reason than because it makes me leave my office when it's insanely dark out.

I had told a friend to call me when he went out on Saturday, and maybe I'd join up with them. It was Halloween weekend, after all, and though I hadn't made specific plans, I wouldn't have minded going out.

I won't say I waited for him to call, per se, but I was dressed (though not in costume) and ready to go most of the night.

He called at 1:20 a.m.: "I told you I'd call when we finally headed out and hit the bars, so here I am, calling you!"

"Uh, it's 1:20 in the morning...."

"Well, yeah, but it's effectively only 12:20!"

"Uh... it's late is what it is."

"Ah... well I said I'd call so I wanted to make sure I did. Sounds like you're in for the night...."

"Yeah, I think I'm in."

Thing is, even on nights when we don't turn our clocks back, I think 12:30 a.m. is pretty damn late to START a night out. Even on a weekend.

I am so old.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I Need a Life

I stole this meme from Sam who stole it from Travis who stole it from Matt.

Instructions: Visit, put your first name and the word "needs" in quotations (e.g., "Dennis needs") (I had to take out the exclamation point for this exercise -- grrr) in the search box, and then click the Google Search button. Write down the top 10 results.

1. Dennis needs to stamp it out.

I'd offer to "stamp it out," but I don't know what that means.

2. Dennis needs our help.

I am always in dire need of help. Anything you can give me, though money -- and lots of it -- would be GREAT.

3. Dennis needs to be first and best.

Not really.

4. Dennis needs a win tonight!!!!

Dennis! is in deperate need of a win any night. And I don't mean at some board game. Nudge nudge, wink wink.

5. Dennis needs to curse. [Apparently, "it's a habit for him."]

I deny this. I ain't no fucking potty-mouthed sailor type.

6. Dennis needs lots of verbal prompts and reminders. Also, Dennis needs to sit close to the teacher away from distraction.

Okay, I'll give you the first one. But sitting next to the teacher could prove to be a bigger distraction, if the teacher is some hot, sexy man with just the right combination of cologne/deodorant/aftershave and manly sweaty scents.

7. Dennis needs an income, what with a family to support.

Naw, what Dennis! needs is a bigger income, to support the lavish lifestyle to which he has become accustomed. It's not cheap being single and gay while attempting fabulousness.

8. Dennis needs something new, something daring.

Amen, sistah!

9. "Dennis needs to ask older Lorma men about a prominent Zoe named Faugbala who was a Mandingo man and the many paramount chiefs who ruled what is now ..."

Zzzzzz. Zrb-zz-zpth... Wha?

10. Dennis needs to be downgraded to a Cat. 1.

In truth, Dennis! -- and this blog in particular -- is nothing more than a compilation of tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"A Drink or Two" My Ass, or Thursday Night Drinking Adventures

Longtime readers of this blog know that I am not generally one of exceptional self-confidence. I am much more of a reserved, shy personality; I prefer to blend in rather than stand out; I am not the type to toot my own horn, for whatever reason. (At least, I hope this becomes clear through my blog.)

Therefore, I can only suggest that perhaps a full moon was out on a recent Thursday night, when I went out with my friends Moe and Anthony and proceeded to step completely outside my shell and finally actually take some initiative to meet people. (The crash-and-burn part comes just a little later in this post.)

We went to see a movie at Reel Affirmations, the gay and lesbian independent film festival. I generally do not really enjoy going to these, because gay-themed movies generally raise my hackles for one reason or another (I am difficult to please that way), and besides, I get uncomfortable among huge throngs of gay men, none of whom are particularly looking twice at me. But attend I did, because my friends were in fact in the movie, so there was no way I was going to pass it up. (The film was made and set in D.C., so many local actors and scenes were used. My friends had speaking roles, but small ones. I am actually unclear on how they even got their parts; my guess is they’re just more "connected" than I am, though that's not a high hurdle to clear.)

Besides, knowing some of the stars of the movie gets you into some cool after-parties where you get to hang with the cool kids.

It started with the reception tent behind the theater. The only reason I knew where this tent is located at all was because the Will Call table is located in there. Well, that and the fact that some friends and I volunteered back there a year ago. Free-flowing alcohol works wonders as a social lubricant when your goal is to fawn over people who just appeared in an independent film.

As Moe and Anthony socialized with their friends from the set – occasionally remembering my presence and introducing me around – while I more or less nursed an extremely strong Absolut Mandarin and tonic and looked around to check out the men.

Despite repeatedly having announced that they only intended to stay for "a drink or two" in the tent and split, we were in the tent for the better part of an hour and a half. Not that I was complaining, because I clearly could have left whenever I wanted to, but I realized I was actually having some fun, so why not keep it up for a while? It's not often that I actually enjoy this kind of stuff.

After approximately 75 minutes (and three inappropriately strong vodka drinks), my friends and I were talking when I motioned over to a car prominently featured in the corner of a tent while asking my friends whether that was being raffled off, or was there just for show. (Apparently one of the sponsors of the festival or the movie was a car dealership, so they were just displaying their wares.) Of course, when I waved my hand in that general direction, a not-unattractive guy thought I was pointing at him. Oops. To keep both of us from being embarrassed, I went over to him anyway and introduced myself, explaining that I had gestured to the car, but hi anyway. And – this is when having friends in the cast of the movie helps – I spurred conversation along by introducing my friends as having been in the movie we just saw. (It's impressive how conversation can just roll along based purely upon the phrase "Do you recognize him? He was in the movie!" I seriously think that after a while, I could have started to tell people that I was in the movie and they would have believed me even if they couldn't remember my "part.")

So we chatted for a bit before my friends decided that, despite their "a-drink-or-two" pledge, they in fact did want to go to a cast and crew afterparty at a nearby club. We bid farewell to the guy I inadvertently pointed at, but did tell him where we were headed. You know, in case he wanted to come meet up with us.

This was Strike One. Or perhaps it was a balk. In any event, it wasn't a home run.

At the club, we proceeded to down still more beverages, for it was two-for-one cocktail night in celebration of the movie's world premiere. Yeah. Have I mentioned yet that this was a Thursday night? Oy. As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, they aren’t kidding when they refer to alcohol as a "social lubricant."

Anthony introduced us to Shawn, some guy he met at the set who had the distinct title of being "The Guy Who Taught Me [Anthony] How to Properly Tuck." As in, tuck his penis between his legs when filming scene that somehow required it. Shawn, apparently, is either a drag queen or drag queen consultant (who knew those existed?), and so was quite expert in that field. Anyway, my point in introducing him at this point of the story is to mention that he was wearing, basically, a stylish zip-up jacket with no shirt underneath. A decent look, I'm sure, inspired by trendy mannequins in uber-gay trendy stores. Eventually, just for fun, I yanked the zipper down. Funny, he didn't look like he'd have a fuzzy chest. (Shawn will return to this story later.)

This was not Strike Two, because, unlike car-guy, I wasn't particularly flirting with Shawn.

No, Strike Two came in the form of Alberto, a lawyer from South America studying for his graduate law degree here in DC. Again contrary to my normal reserved nature, I struck up a conversation with him, commenting on the sweater he had tied around his neck. (I was this close to telling him how 80s preppy he looked like that, which would have been intended as a mild insult ribbing, but I decided against it after I found out he wasn't from the States, just to cut him a little slack.) We chatted and Moe and I even threatened to go visit him next time he went back home to visit his family (so we could have a free place to stay as well as a tour guide). I passed him my business card and told him to get in touch so that I would know how to get in touch with him. We discussed whether he looked better with or without his glasses (either way, I told him he looked adorable – he blushed) and I was this close to actually executing a successful flirt.

And then Shawn came up to us.

Yes, Shawn the Drag Queen sashayed up to us and I, of course, had to introduce him since I actually knew him. Sure enough, Shawn had visited Alberto's home country before and in fact spoke fluent Spanish. Well, there's no competing with that. When you can discuss hometown politics in your native language with a tall thin guy, you've effectively shut out the functionally Spanish-illiterate other (read, "not tall, not thin") guy. So I politely excused myself from the conversation.

That was Strike Two. And, despite the fact that I would never have agreed to go home with Alberto even if he had asked me, I'm going to go ahead and consider it a cockblock as well.

The night that started off as "a drink or two in the tent" (the movie ended at 9:30) had by this point quickly extended to past midnight. I was finally ready to go home (I had things to do the next morning!) but my friends were busy, uh, meeting other people. Anthony, in particular, had successfully started chatting up a cute little boy (and I do mean boy) who was serving drinks. I suppose it helps that he (Server Boy) was wearing a tie but no shirt. Server Boy (whose name I forget) seemed quite into Anthony and was floored when he found out that Anthony is 37. I later came to find out that Server Boy is 20. (At one point he literally screeched, "You're thirty-SEVEN? Wow! And you're so adorable!")

Meanwhile, because I was starting to get bored, I turned to a cute guy sitting next to me at the bar and randomly start talking to him. I think I literally gasped when the conversation turned to what he did, and I came to find out he was a college senior. And I don't think I did a very good job of hiding the fact that I was just a little horrified by the thought that I was pretty much hitting on a 21-year-old. (At one point I literally asked him, "Well, please at least tell me you’re 22 and not 21" – as if that would have made a difference – but no, he was, in fact, 21.) Yeah, I guess my reaction to this kid's 21 is pretty much the converse of Server Boy's reaction to Anthony's 37.

Oh, it turns out that Adam was Server Boy's ride. They both are at the same school.

I did end up giving Adam (that's the 21-year-old college senior) my card too, but whether he may have ever been into me or not, I think my sheer horror at hitting on someone so young probably turned him off. (My friend Moe at one point leaned into me and mentioned how cute the boy I was talked to was. When I told him he was 21, Moe's response was, "So? If he shows any interest at all, you must fuck him. He's a cutie. If he does this" -- Moe demonstrated some leg position that somehow, I presume, suggests some form of lordosis -- "you fuck him." Yeah, gotta love my friends like that.) I have no real expectations that he'll call. Besides, how weird would it be for a 21-year-old college senior to pick up the phone and dial a number off of card that reads "attorney at law"? Even I think it would be weird.

The bar pretty much started to shut down so we all headed out. Adam and Server Boy headed to their car, Server Boy still madly drooling over Anthony. Anthony and Moe caught a ride home from them while I walked home. Shawn and Alberto – whom I had thought left well earlier – were outside, and I told Alberto again to email me while trying not to sneer at Shawn. As I said my goodbyes to Moe, I thought I saw Adam continuing to look at me, but again, I'm not sure. And I'm still a little flabbergasted, perturbed, and freaked out at the same time.

That, my friends, was Strike Three. Or perhaps another balk.

As a final punctuation mark (again, let's go with the interrobang) for the night, during my walk home, who should I run into, walking happily hand in hand along the little gay strip on 17th Street? None other than Shawn and Alberto again. Dissed, cockblocked, and salt-wounded on that one. Sigh.

I'm hanging out with Moe again on Tuesday. Part of me vows to recreate this night, only with cuter boys, and possibly some actual dating interest.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


I'm having another one of those "I can die happy now" feelings. Olivia doesn't fail to deliver and I am once again excited and happy that I got the chance to see her again. She's a talented performer, but more importantly, seems to be a wonderful and genuine person, which is possibly why I love her so much.

I also found out that I'm not the only one who has a preternatural obsession with her, and I am (thankfully) someone who keeps his adoration her in some moderation. Olivia groupies; who knew?

Why do "I can die happy now" feelings have to be so fleeting? I'm pretty sure that once I get back home all kinds of crap will hit the fan all over again. It always does. It did when I went to Vegas over the Fourth of July weekend, and will likely do so again when I get back tomorrow. Such seems to be my life. I hit a high point where I'm delierious happy, then within a day or two something explodes in my face and I am, to say the least, no longer as deliriously happy. Eh, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Didn't get to see much of Atlantic City. The weather was not cooperating. I had come up here early (I'm typing this from my hotel room in Absecon, NJ, not far from AC) for the purpose to checking out the scene Friday night and part of the day Saturday before the show, but the weather would not have it. It was pretty rainy most of Friday night, so I didn't feel like getting back in the car and driving in the rain to check out some casinos. (I tend to get lost in strange places easily, and getting lost in the rain would not have been fun.) So basically I spent an extra night away from my own bed for no reason whatsoever. Though the king size bed is nice.

So I spent the entire day in the Hilton in AC because that's where Olivia was. Went crazy on nickel and penny slots, which I fell in love with in Vegas. It's amazing how well those things can pay out, as well as how quickly they can suck away your cash. Within the first 40 minutes of beginning my gambling in earnest, I had spent $60, in $20 increments. The first machine I hit ate my money in mere seconds (or so it felt). At the second, I walked away with a voucher for $70. Not too shabby. At the third machine (penny slots, no less) I walked away with a voucher for $490. Cha-ching! I was on FIRE, and not in a gay-flamey sort of way. Of course, by the end of the night, I slipped back down again, and now am leaving here with $400 in my pocket (which includes the $200 I brought up here with me, but less tolls and food spent on the way up here), so in all I'm only up something like $200. But hey, I'll take it.

Have I mentioned how much I love Olivia? Yeah, thought so. Okay, that's enough about her for a while. Some other interesting stories in the works; I'll get around to them soon.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Two Days!

Until I see my angel.

I tend to get all excited before vacations, which makes me lose focus at work.

But because I'm seeing her in two days, I'm more excited than usual. Did I tell you our tickets are seven rows back, in the dead center? I'm truly afraid I'll never see her because I'll be crying the entire time.

Olivia, I love you.

(Before any of you comments on the fact that all these pics seem to be older pics of her, I will say that I tried to upload one of her recent press shots at the top of this page and Blogger just wasn't havin' it. Just FYI, she is just as gorgeous now as she's ever been. Just click on any photo above to be taken to her website.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

That's Crazy Talk!

I walked into a McDonald's recently (I don't make it a habit -- I was on my way somewhere and needed something to shove my face with real quick) and walked into the strangest situation ever.

I entered the room to face what appeared to me to be two lines forming behind each of two cashiers. Naturally, I chose to stand in the shorter one.

I suppose I should have realized there was a problem when the long line appeared to be studiously avoiding standing behind the woman I ended up behind.

She was maybe mid-40s, thin, reasonably well-dressed. She was hunched over the chest-height counter, her hair covering the area where her hand met her face. Her accent and scratchy voice was a near-perfect imitation of Fran Drescher.

I presumed that she was on the phone.

"What are you tawlkin about? No, Britney. There's two Britneys in that class, blond Britney and short-haired Britney, which one are you tawlkin about? No, I told you that wasn't ... look, I don't know what you mean, but ..."

and so on and so on. I started tuning out the conversation and started instead to wonder why my line wasn't really moving for me to get my frigging Dollar Deal sandwich and head out of there...

... which is when I realized that the woman in front of me in fact was not on a cell phone, and instead, was, yep, talking to herself. I mean she was seriously carrying on an entire conversation to herself, complete with unheard interruptions from others which demanded clarification.

While I couldn't help thinking that this woman was clearly mad, I also couldn't help flashing over to that movie Ghost, where Patrick Swayze's character dies and comes to realize that Whoopi Goldberg's character can hear him, if not see him. Part of me wondered if perhaps this woman actually was talking to a spirit. Kind of shades of The Sixth Sense ("She sees dead people.") and "Ghost Whisperer". (Of course, if she was, she was awfully rude to him/her. I guess this happens when you talk to ghosts a lot: you no longer fear them and therefore no longer walk on eggshells around them. You'll yell at them and talk to them with a 'tude if that's the way you normally talk to people.)

I never did get my sandwich that day. I ended up having to buy a freaking $7 appetizer from the bar we went to for happy hour.

Monday, October 17, 2005 Buyback Idiocy

In a recent fit of nostalgia while shopping on line, I decided to purchase some old-school games adapted for the Nintendo Game Boy Advance. One of the cartridges I bought was for Paperboy and Rampage -- remember those?

Of course, as often happens with me, there was a problem. And this was a problem that didn't lend itself to an easy solution, mostly because the idiots at didn't seem to grasp what I was trying to say.

Backdrop: The game Paperboy is centered around a kid riding around the neighborhood on his bike. He has to go left and right to avoid various obstacles in the street and on the sidewalk. He also must toss papers into the mailboxes of the houses along his route. That's the point of the game: he delivers papers. If he doesn't throw papers, the point of the game is eviscerated.

The problem: As paraphrased from the documentation that comes with the game: "Steer the paperboy by using the L/R keys on the gamepad. . . . To throw papers, use the L/R buttons on the gamepad."

See what my problem is here?

So here I was playing this game, pressing left and right like mad, but papers wouldn't fly. I would just run into things. Clearly, the game was just designed poorly. So I determined to return the game. I mean, if I had walked into a store at the mall and bought the game, then explained this problem, they'd take it back, right?

Not so at

First you have to go through an online process to return products. There are drop-down menus where you're expected to explain why you're returning the product, and no room for a narrative explanation. Unfortunately, nothing in the menus described my actual problem. Was the game "defective"? Well, yes, but it's systemically so, so sending me a replacement won't help. Is it "not what I ordered"? Well, no, it IS what I ordered, but it just won't work right. And so it goes.

Well, also has a wonderful policy on game cartridges that says that if you have opened the box, the only thing they can do for you is give you a replacement game.

Do you see the problem here?

During the online process, they tell you as much. You request a credit on your purchase, and you're told, in so many words, "No. We'll ship you a new one, but we won't give you your money back." Like that would help.

I sent in a help ticket by email. Their response: "Go to the return page on the web site. It's easy!" (Yes, this is the same page I had been to before, which I describe in the previous paragraph.) Oh, and "You can call us if you want." Except that they don't include a phone number. Can we say Hide The Ball?

So I had to send them another email specifically asking for their phone number.

I called them this weekend. As politely and as patiently as possible, I explained to them the problem: I don't want a replacement because any replacement I would get will not work. Response: "I'm very sorry for the inconvenience, sir, but we can only exchange opened games for a replacement." But it won't work! "I'm sorry to hear that, sir, but we would be happy to send you a replacement cartridge." BUT IT WON'T WORK! "I would be happy to have a replacement sent to you...."

Finally, I pull out a line that really don't like using: "Okay, know what? I need to talk to your supervisor."

After waiting for some 90 seconds, a supervisor finally came on the line. Again as politely as I could, I explained the situation: You can't throw newspapers with this game, and no number of replacement games will make the game let me throw papers. (I even tossed in a somewhat gratuitous "I don't know if I was being clear with the associate who was helping me before." -- This was bullshit. I was clear and I knew it.)

Thankfully, this woman understood what I was trying to say and was "nice" enough to grant me a special exception. I should be expecting some instruction in the next few days regarding the return of the product for a credit instead of a replacement cartridge. Seriously, though, this supervisor made it sound like she was doing me SUCH a GREAT favor for doing this for me. Honey, I would have expected this much, much earlier in this process, given these strange circumstances.

Meanwhile, I'm locked in another battle with them about the fact that my Bomberman box showed up without an actual game cartridge in it. Somehow I have to explain to them that they sent me an empty box. This ought to be fun.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Boy, Was I Bluffing.

I've been on a Texas Hold 'Em kick lately. I've been seeking out tournaments, both public and private, at which I can get a few games going. The ones I've found at local bars usually don't cut it for one reason or another: the bar is too smoky; the crowd is too serious; fellow players not as friendly as I'd like them to be; starts too early after work. Private tournaments are okay, if only I were willing to spend that much money on a regular basis to play poker. Buy-ins I've found run from $20 to $50 -- the latter being a way too high; the former being okay but not something I'd like to spend regularly.

I had heard about a bar that does poker nights on Tuesdays so I decided to check it out. The other friends who would have joined me all bailed, so I found myself alone in a sea of strangers for the sole purpose of playing some poker. Free game, no big pressure, just a fun night.

As it turns out, all the other players were men. No biggie. At least they were friendly. Unlike at the other bars I've played poker at, these guys introduced themselves when they sat down, laughed and joked during the games, and generally had a good time even outside of the pressure of a good game of cards.

The thing about situations like these -- something I quite enjoy about situations like these, when I get the cojones to go through with them -- is that they permit me to become a whole different person if I want to. These guys don't know me from Adam, so I can take on a whole new persona if I want. I could doff my lawyer identify in favor of any of the other professions I previously thought about. I could be as shy as I wanted to be, or as loud and outgoing as I could. I could decide that I don't use profanity, or I could cuss like a drunken sailor. I was a blank slate, and I could write whatever I wanted to on it.

The significance of the date didn't hit me until I reflected on it later. I had joined this poker game on October 11 -- National Coming Out Day. Yeah, reminders for it were all over the place, but I kinda just let it slide. After all, pretty much everyone who is remotely close to me knows I'm gay, so there aren't many people left for me to come out to. (The glaring exception -- my parents -- is a situation I'm content with.)

Why is this significant? Because in the testosterone-laden environment in which I had just thrust myself, it's apparently still okay to call someone a "homo," intending a derogatory meaning. Sure, these guys were friends and it was all in jest, but still, I bristled internally when I heard it. "You played through on a 2-7? You're a homo!"

I'll admit I still use the phrase "that's so gay" from time to time (although usually it's in reference to men discussing makeup, or interior decorating). But a part of me realized that these guys don't realize that I'm an actual homo sitting there, infiltrating their inner circle, listening to them toss around the word "homo" like it was some adequate emasculating tool.

O irony: they toss it around like it's emasculating, while I'm sitting right there acting much more masculine than usual.

Frankly, I didn't take much offense to it. The word was really only tossed around three or four times (at least on the tables I was playing at), and apparently in fun. I know various gay rights groups thinking using the phrase inherently stigmatizes "gay" as a bad thing, but I tend to just roll with it. In the grand scheme of things, I'd rather pick a battle for real equality than the use of "gay" as a negative attribution. I'll challenge gay-based discrimination or harassment; using the word among people who appeared to be friends I can let slide.

But a part of me does wonder whether I should have spoken up. "Wait, you're a homo? Really? So am I! You're cute, wanna date?" Would it have taught these guys not to use that word in that way? Would it have singled me out as the oversensitive fag in the room? Would the entire dynamic of the game have changed based upon the knowledge that a gay guy was actually there with them, or would it only have affected their freedom to toss around the word? Could I have been the one to change one mind, instilling the seed of "I know that one gay guy, and he seemed pretty cool..."?

I don't know.

I don't know because the other part of me says that I am who I am, and I don't feel the need to announce to every new person I meet (let alone a group of 20 men I meet at a bar to play poker with) "Hi, I'm Dennis! and I'm gay." They'll figure it out soon enough (if they haven't already), I'm sure; I'm not the straightest arrow in the quiver. If it comes up in conversation, I have no doubt that I'll just mention it like any other fact of my life. But that night just didn't seem like the time or place to do so.

Coming out is an inherently tricky situation, because you never know how your recipient will react: it could run the gamut from revulsion to nonchalance. Along the same lines of picking my own battles, I'd like think that my expressly coming out is an honor earned by those people I feel closer to than others. If I like you enough, I'll go ahead and share that side of my life with you. If you're not that close a friend of mine, there's no need for me to put myself out on that limb for you. These poker guys were as much strangers to me as I was to them. There appeared no need to come out, no honor or right earned to such information. So I kept mum, for just a little bit longer.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that on National Coming Out Day, I found myself at least part way back in the closet. It's scary to realize just how easy it is to find oneself back in there with just the slightest change in surroundings.

But the closet is not a place I plan on staying for long.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Things That Make You Go "Ow"

I never got around to blogging about it, but I recently took up a "Yoga Fundamentals" class at my local yoga center. Once a week, for six weeks now, I've been trying to get my body to do things that I normally wouldn't expect it to. For the most part, it's a good workout, somehow both strenuous and relaxing at the same time. It's not easy, especially for fat and out-of-shape people like me. Although I'm enjoying this fundamentals class, I'm thinking I won't be able to continue doing yoga in anything other than a ultra-beginner's session -- which will likely translate into "not at all." I should stick to traditional stuff like running or weight training or typical gym classes.

For your entertainment, here is running list of things that tend to go through my head during a typical yoga session:

- This instructor is so chill, it's cool. She's fun.
- "Table pose" is basically a disciplined form of doggie-style. So it's nice when there's a guy in front of me as we do this.
- Ow.
- You want my arm to go where?
- It's hot as balls in here. Does the fan not work at all?
- Ow!
- How does she do that?
- I KNOW you don't think I can do that!
- Ow ow ow ow ow ow!
- Am I the only one sweating drops big huge drops here? I feel like one of these days that sweat is going to be replaced by drops of blood from some kind of random hemorrhage. That would be gross.
- At least the "jocks" in the class aren't doing great at this either. So I don't feel so out of it.
- Taking that step forward just now, I landed in a ginormous puddle of my own sweat drips. Ew. This is why renting yoga mats is kinda gross -- for the guy after me. Ha!
- Now this pose I can do. Lying flat on your back and just relaxing. I just hope I don't snore.
- Or thinking inappropriate thoughts causing me to start giggling uncontrollably.
- Is it dinner time yet?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Wanna Run Through the Halls of My Office. I Wanna Scream at the Top of My Lungs.

Followup to this post:

I failed to follow my own advice. In my defense, of course, it was very, very late, and I was tired.

My colleagues and I had all stayed late in the office one recent evening (the last in a series of such late evenings) to finish up a massive project that was coming due soon. Papers were everywhere: first-, second-, third-, and even fourth- and fifth-round drafts; final drafts; photocopies of exhibits; extra copies of the copies; copies of everything for us; copies for the court; copies for the opposing lawyers. It was a mess.

Having created and assembled all the necessary paperwork, we knew the end was near so we said we'd finish up the last bit in the morning. By this time, it was 11:15 p.m. As we began to wind down, in an effort to lend some levity to the intense work atmosphere, I opened up my music player and had it start cranking out some tunes.

Most everyone else in the office lives near each other (the exception is me, because I live near the office), so they all took off together, and all I was left to do was shut down my computer for the night, get some rest, and go back the next morning to finish up the project.

Having thus left me all alone in my office as we approached the witching hour, I was tired and felt the need to let loose. So when Donna Summer’s extended version of "Love to Love You Baby" came blaring through my speakers, I pretty much just went crazy. The speakers were by this point were turned up well past 5 on a scale of 1 to 10 (try this on your computer and you’ll see this is not soft), and I was ready to rock out, as much as possible to an aging disco tune.

I started walking dancing my way between my office and work room cleaning up some last minute details for the next day with a sense of relief at the imminent completion of this project and with a spring in my step. So relieved was I, in fact, that I




along with Donna. At the top of my lungs.

Iiiiiiiii love to love you baby! Iiiiiiiiiii love to love you baby! Iiiiiiiiiiii......

Yeah, see that part where my screaming tapers off? It was around this point where I noticed that a random building employee had come into the office (to this day I don't know why) and observed me acting like a complete nut.

"Busy huh?" he asked me in his broken English laced with a Spanish accent.

"Uh... yeah," I responded. Then, just because it was too late anyway, I continued singing. Screw the maintenance guy. I was embarrassed, yes, but I was tired, dammit, and I needed this stress relief.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Rules Live On

Remember The Rules, that widely decried book where two women decided they knew how to grab and keep a man using stupid mind tricks? Their rules included such helpful hints and "never answer the phone the first few times he calls" and "even if you don't have plans on Friday, never accept a date for the weekend if he calls after Wednesday." I thought those rules were retarded when they first came and I think they're retarded now.

Unfortunately, many of my female acquaintances tend to disagree. Not explicitly, mind you -- but they still do play by a set of rules that I find silly.

One friend, Lynn, gives out her phone number at bars but never gets the guy's number. Her rationale: it should be the guy who calls. At first impression, it's not an awful position to take. Then, however, she takes it a step further: she won't be the one to suggest getting together. No matter how much fun she and the guy have together, she won't be the one to suggest a date or a second meeting. That's "the guy's" job.

Egged on my other friend Loretta, they develop these rules together: Who was the last one to call whom? (The calls should alternate.) Was your last call just returning his call, or was there more to it? (You should also alternate who initiates conversations.) What was the previous mode of communication? (Return communication should be like in kind: email for email, text message for text message, phone call for phone call). All kinds of silly crap.

From time to time, these girls ask me for my advice on what to do, and I consistently tell them: Do whatever the hell you want to do. And I don't mean that in a "whatever, I'm not going to give you my advice" way, I mean it to say do what you want, as opposed to do (or don't do) what things based on your expectations of how things should progress. Whose "role" is it to ask for a date? Screw it; if you want one, ask for it. A common refrain I hear from these girls is "If he were interested, he would have approached me. I'm not going to go over there." Well then, you've just lost out on your chance with him. Maybe your approaching him would have sparked his interest. Now, nothing. You snooze, you lose.

There is some merit to the thought that if, after talking a good number of times, no one's brought up the "let's go on a date" question yet, then there's something wrong. But why does that party have to be the guy? Sitting around waiting for something to happen isn't going to suddenly make the date materialize.

The other day on Craig's List I found the following ad (I can't possibly find it again) which basically said: "You are the (insert description here) guy on my floor. We check each other out all the time. Why don't you ask me for coffee or something? You know I'll say yes! I'm waiting." Okay, lady, if you're both checking each other out and you clearly want to hang out with this guy socially, just freakin' ask him already. Grow some spine.

Then, a few short days later, another ad appeared along the same vein, sparking much dispute among the CL denizens: Woman saw guy at bar. She didn't approach him then, but she did post an ad for him and, surprise surprise, he responded. They've emailed back and forth, and although she keeps indicating when she's available, he never pulled out the words, "Let's get together on [X date] at [Y time]." Now she's frustrated that he's not asking her out despite her obvious interest and availability. My take: Not to say this guy is a genius or anything, but you've tried subtle and it's not working. Just ask him out already. And if his not taking this initiative is really bugging you this much, do you still want to be with him at all? Just call it a dealbreaker, and forget the loser.

Mind you, I recognize that as a very single gay man, I'm the last one you'd go to for heterosexual dating advice. I don't know what's successful in the world of dating (aside from being drop-dead gorgeous no matter how dumb as a post you may be), but I've seen that these bullshit tactics seldom work. Hell, those chicks who wrote The Rules are both divorced now. So much for being able to hold on to your man.

Now, single women, go forth, and talk to that boy you've always wanted to talk to! You'd be stupid not to.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Gay Time

I hate to say it, but this kid:

is hella cute. Damn, I'm literally twice his age or so. I'm going to stop talking now before I get myself into trouble with the authorities.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Harriet Miers - Food for Thought

Alexander Hamilton in Federalist 76:

To what purpose then require the co-operation of the Senate? I answer, that the necessity of their concurrence would have a powerful, though, in general, a silent operation. It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity. . . . He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.

Hmmmm. Yeah, Mr. President, you uber-conservative you, let's talk about the intent of the founding fathers....

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Teddy Bear Confessionals

In light of the release of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, I thought I'd make my own confessions about my own stuffed animals. (Check out this WaPo article on this historic strip.)

I confess: I have more stuffed animals than any 30-something man should own. In my defense: I acquired the vast majority of them before my 18th birthday.

It started off simply enough: I was a child and I liked the way they felt.

But then the collection continued to grow, well into young adulthood. I never actually spent paycheck dollars to purchase stuffed animals, mind you; however, I have been known to spend earned cash at carnivals playing games with the intent of winning cute new stuffed animals.

Most of my animals have personalities. Strangely, some have personalities I would never tolerate from real people in my life.

Two animals -- a bear and an elephant -- share my bed with me to this day. Each of them is over 20 years old. The elephant's name is Simon; the bear's, John-John (not named after JFK, Jr.). Neither of these names is pronounced in any way near what they look like. They talk to me. Usually in bed. They usually say stuff to the effect of "Stop thinking and just go to sleep!" and "It's late, and you have to get up early in the morning!" They're such nags.

Simon is a nice, polite, friendly animal, pretty much to a fault. John-John is rather rude and obnoxious and unnecessarily picks on Simon frequently. (Simon tends not to respond in kind.) They fight all the time, but then they sleep in the same corner together. Both of them hate it when I fall asleep with one of them in my arms, because inevitably he ends up on the ground and/or with a smooshed nose. At the same time, though, they both get jealous if they're not the one in my arms while the other one is. (It's kinda sweet and demented at the same time.)

They also get a little peeved when someone sleeps over. Of course, that hasn't happened in eons, so they've been content for quite a bit.

One other bear I have is creatively named "Scottish Bear." I won him from my high school carnival in my junior year. His oh-so-appropriate name derives from the fact that my brother and I (my brother being 19 by that time) thought his red-and-blue check sweater and matching golf cap thought he looked rather Scottish, in an odd Sean-Connery-on-a-golf-course kinda way.

The same year that I won Scottish Bear, I also one the most adorable white stuffed dog. He was immensely soft and plush and had the cutest nose and grin. I fell in love with him instantly, and -- don't tell my other animals -- he quickly became my favorite. I named him "Barney," most decidedly not after the obnoxious purple dinosaur. (This was well before the dinosaur came into existence.) More about him in a few paragraphs.

One bear I particularly miss -- he was eventually discarded because a ginormous hole had started forming in his neck -- was named "QT Pooh." A most well-deserved name, because he was, in fact, one of the cutest bears I have ever owned. The problem is, he knew he was cute, and so was rather ill-mannered because he knew he could get away with it just by saying "I'm so cute!" -- and he was.

When I went away for college, I left my stuffed animals behind. (Who was going to pack all of them? Besides, what 17-year-old boy shows up at college with all his teddy bears in tow?) My parents then made continuous threats that they were going to throw them all out, claiming that I had undoubtedly outgrown it. (So not the case.) Once, my brother sent me a letter (paper, pen, envelope and stamp!) telling me that they had finally made good on the threat, and that my beloved animals were gone, "kaput." (His word.) This actually brought me to hysterical tears in my dorm room until I got to the end of the letter, which advised that it was just a joke. I tore him a new asshole on the phone immediately thereafter, with him laughing said ass off the entire time.

Not to say that all my stuffed animals survived my absence. I came home from college one year to find that Barney was no longer sitting where he should have been. Neither my parents nor my brother could adequately account for his whereabouts -- a particularly disturbing turn of events given the letter my brother had sent. My last best information is that some four-year-old rugrat came by to visit my family, helped himself to Barney around the house, and was oh-so-generously told by my parents to just keep him. To this day, when I go home and we visit people who have kids of about the right age, I raid their rooms in search of Barney.

In order to finally remove the ever-present cloud of imminent death my beloved stuffed animals, I waited one afternoon while my parents were out of the house, found myself a good box, shoved all my animals in it, and sent all my animals to my college address. Because no one would ever toss out my animals without my say-so.

They now sit on a shelf in my bedroom, a happy brood. Though mostly collecting dust.

There you have it. A rare glimpse into my inner strangeness.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Selective Strict Interpretation

I've been generally silent about the whole John Roberts and Harriet Miers thingee, mostly because thinking about it gives me a headache, and when things give me a headache, it means my blog entry on the subject ends up being a rambling mess that helps no one.

But I had to take a little bit of time to point out this wonderful irony.

From the NY Times, Bush Seeks to Quell Criticism of Court Nominee from the Right by David Stout (link will probably not work after like a day or so):

President Bush sought today to allay the fears of social conservatives about his latest Supreme Court choice, saying that his selection, Harriet E. Miers, would adhere strictly to the letter of the Constitution. . . .

"She's a woman of principle and deep conviction," Mr. Bush said of Ms. Miers, his White House counsel. "She shares my philosophy that judges should strictly interpret the laws and the Constitution of the United States and not legislate from the bench."

* * *

Mr. Bush also sent a clear signal that he would resist, on grounds of executive privilege, providing senators documents related to Ms. Miers's work in the White House. At least some Democrats are likely to seek such records, especially since Ms. Miers, who has never been a judge, has no "paper trail" of opinions.

"I just can't tell you how important it is for us to guard executive privilege in order for there to be crisp decision-making in the White House," Mr. Bush said.

The Constitution does not specifically mention executive privilege, but the Supreme Court has recognized the need for confidentiality between high government officials and their advisers. The court has concluded, however, that executive privilege is not absolute.

So, let me get this straight: she'll be a great jurist because she'll strictly interpret the Constitution. "Strict interpretation" generally means that if the Constitution doesn't say we have a right to it, we don't. Conservatives like to use this argument to attack Roe v. Wade, because the "right of privacy" upon which Roe is based isn't expressly stated in the Constitution.

BUT W. is perfectly happy withholding documents from Congress about the work she's done relying "executive privilege"? Note especially that this privilege is not enumerated in the Constitution, and therefore was apparently created out of -- say it with me -- judicial activism?

The conservative who invokes Court-created rights for their own purposes is much like the vegan who eats a roast beef sandwich "as long as it's already there." You can't do it. I know Democrats have also invoked executive privilege in the past, but at least Democrats accept that rights can arise out of the Constitution which aren't explicitly stated. It's not so much "judge-created" law as a reasonable interpretation of a living document.

You rise and fall by your own principles. You can't pick and choose which judge-created rights are acceptable and which ones are bad. If you don't like judge-created rights, I'd like it if you stood on your principles and refused to invoke them.

Monday, October 03, 2005


I have decided that I simply don't "get" Desperate Housewives. I know it's not meant to truly reflect a slice of reality, but come on.

Let's start with the new Alfre Woodard character -- you know, the one with, oh, a man chained up in her basement. First of all, recall that when she moved in, Edie (her real estate agent) mentioned that she had purchased the house "sight unseen" and that they hadn't even done the customary walk-through. I'm curious, how then did she know that, conveniently enough, there's a dungeon beneath the house?

And then there's the dysfunction that is Edie and Susan. The two of them appear to live to goad each other. Edie deliberately comes over to Susan for the express purpose of rubbing her relationship with Susan's ex-husband into her face. Failing to get a reaction, Edie keeps upping the ante. When she finally manages to push Susan's buttons, she accidentally gets run over. Smart move all around, ladies. You guys are, what, 12?

I know gay men will exhale inhale [thanks, Matt] a collective gasp when I say this, but Bree is fucking psycho and needs to be locked up or subjected to heavy, heavy medication. I had already started hating her when, near the end of last season, she calmly made the bed while Rex was on the stairs suffering from a heart attack. That of itself isn't too terribly outrageous for a television show, but she did it in front of her kids, who were clearly terrified of losing their father. And that whole incident with the tie at the funeral? Man, woman needs needs to get a GRIP. Yeah, that bitch is whack.

Gabrielle Solis fares no better. She's a money-grubbing self-centered egotistical slut. Yeah, Eva Longoria is gorgeous, but her character is so wildly amoral it drives me crazy. (Go fig that Republican women everywhere love this show in all its Girls Behaving Badly dressed up in its Sunday best.) Her affair with lawn boy was remarkably selfish (she was lying to husband and leading the poor kid on) -- although, hell, seeing Jesse Metcalfe shirtless made the whole plot line worthwhile. Now she's just bandying for money. Good Lord woman, grow some principles!

And finally, there's the Scavos. I know I'll catch shit for this too, but no one in that family knew how to raise kids. Those kids were terrors. And wading into a pool in your funeral best is not the way to tame them. Just sighing and letting them scream and bang things around and turn the radio all the way up does not teach them to respect their parents who are supposed to keep them in line. Yes, she did a better job than her stupid (though hunky) husband is doing now, but sheesh.

Okay, I think I'm done now.

(I could go through a very similar analysis of the vapid self-centered characters in Entourage, a show which I really really really wanted to like (because I absolutely adore Jeremy Piven), but I think I'll pass for now.)